Cryptocurrency is a native denizen of the digital realm. It cannot exist and function without electricity and the internet – which is just a networked collection of computers.
This has its upsides and downsides. While eminently mobile, decentralized, and feeless (the transaction itself, not the service), your precious cryptocoins are rife for the taking if you don’t have your security ducks in a row.
Therefore, properly storing and securing your cryptocoins, most likely Bitcoins (BTC), is paramount if you want to enjoy all the benefits of the future of money.Simply put, the variety of devices that can store digital content determine the variety of ways in which you can store your Bitcoins (BTC).
If you are fond to do serious business only at your trustworthy, stationary PC or Mac, desktop wallet is the best solution. After all, with such computers blockchain technology was developed and the first crypto-wallets ever were desktop wallets.
Needless to say, desktop wallets are, by default, better for security, since they are stationary. This will leave only physical intrusion into your home/office as the greatest threat. That is, if your computer itself is not compromised.
However, when we are talking about desktop wallets, we are now primarily inferring enterprise-grade operating systems – Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX. They can power laptops and tablets as well. So, effectively, you can have a desktop wallet on such mobile devices as well.
You will find that desktop wallets have far more options for customization and security, which would befit a power user.
The most top rated desktop wallets are:
It would be best to check out each one and compare its security features, user-friendliness, and ease of use. All are free.
It goes without saying that if you lose your smartphone, you will lose your mobile wallet as well. Or even worse, if you have passwords saved on your smartphone to open your mobile wallet!
With that in mind, mobile wallets are a necessity if you want to actually use your Bitcoins to pay for goods and services. Mobile wallets are more often than not better designed than desktop wallets, because user-friendly interface is the name of the game when it comes to small-format smartphones.
You basically have two choices here, depending if your smartphone is powered by Android or iOS.
By far, Android smartphones are dominating the market due to sheer variety and affordability. Here are the best mobile wallets at the time of this article:
Simply visit your online store and check them out. Google Play store for Android smartphones, and iStore for Apple smartphones.
Online wallets are the most convenient as they are website-based wallets, which means you can visit them from any device with any operating system. Effectively, all website that use cloud (servers that you access) to store your Bitcoins are online wallets.
However, the price for this convenience is rather high and not recommended. You delegate all the security for you assets to these websites, which are usually exchanges.
One of the most popular online wallets are:
In a perpetual tug of war between convenience and security, hardware wallets win.
At some point, one becomes annoyed with all the verifications, photo ID uploads, signage, passwords, etc.
This is where hardware wallets come in. They are physical devices that have a singular purpose – storing your precious Bitcoins, usually connected to a computer via USB. With a hardware wallet, you sign a transaction using private keys that are attached to your cryptocoin address, stored on the device.
Additionally, even as you connect it to your computer, the device prohibits itself from all internet connection, further safeguarding your Bitcoins from any potential intrusion.
Currently, the best hardware wallets on the market are:
- Trezor T
- Trezor One
- Ledger Nano X
- Ledger Nano S
The price is very affordable, ranging from $80-$170 USD. All the devices are approximately the size of your standard USB memory stick.
If you want to evade hacking at all cost, going primitive wins the day. Simply print your private key for a Bitcoin address on a paper and you have created a form of offline or cold storage for your Bitcoins.
Nonetheless, if you want to use your Bitcoin in various stores to buy something, paper wallet is the most inconvenient option. View it simply as a way to store your Bitcoins for the long run.
And lastly, why not use our own biological hardware that we carry everywhere we go – our brains!
If you have a good memory, or even better, if you have trained yourself in the way of mnemonics, there is no way on Earth someone will hack you and steal your Bitcoins.
Why? Because there is not a single instance of the passwords and phrases existing in the world outside your own cranium!